A pluralistic account of degrees of control in addiction

Philosophical Studies 179 (1):197-221 (2022)
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While some form of loss of control is often assumed to be a common feature of the diverse manifestations of addiction, it is far from clear how loss of control should be understood. In this paper, I put forward a concept of decrease in control in addiction that aims to fill this gap and thus provide a general framework for thinking about addictive behavior. The development of this account involves two main steps. First, I present a view of degrees of control as the degree to which an agent would be responsive to potential or counterfactual sufficient reasons to do otherwise. Second, I sketch an account of the relevant control-undermining factors in addiction that is consonant with my proposed view of degrees of control. Being a high-level functional property, reasons-responsiveness is particularly well suited to frame an account of control-undermining factors that is doubly pluralistic: it encompasses the contribution of factors both internal and external to the agent, and it is consistent with various proposals as to the precise nature of the anomaly taking place in the psychology of addiction.

Author's Profile

Federico Burdman
Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)


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